New Zealand must do more to tackle foreign bribery

Gurjit Degun
24 October 2013

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New Zealand must do more to detect, investigate and prosecute foreign bribery, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said.

A report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery found that New Zealand has not prosecuted any cases of foreign bribery since it joined the OECD's anti-bribery convention 12 years ago. It also said that there have only been four allegations.

The report on New Zealand’s implementation of the convention called for New Zealand to:

●      Broaden the possibilities for holding companies liable for foreign bribery and ensure they face significant sanctions for the crime

●      Address gaps in legislation regarding foreign bribery offence

●      Strengthen New Zealand’s capacity to detect, investigate and prosecute foreign bribery through law enforcement training

●      Raise greater awareness of the risks of foreign bribery and of channels for reporting allegations to law enforcement

●      Ensure the non-tax deductibility of all bribe payments

The study also highlighted positive aspects in New Zealand’s efforts to fight bribery. The country has a broader range of items that can be confiscated without waiting for criminal proceedings. It has also adopted a whistleblower protection law and made efforts to encourage whistle blowing.

The OECD also praised New Zealand for reviewing the framework for mutual legal assistance to ensure requests for information from foreign countries are effectively addressed.

The executive summary in the report added: “While the Working Group welcomes New Zealand’s recent efforts to implement the convention, it has serious concerns about the lack of enforcement of the foreign bribery offence.

“The Working Group recommends that New Zealand significantly increase its efforts to investigate and prosecute foreign bribery, including by providing practical training to law enforcement authorities on the foreign bribery offence.”

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